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Textbook Rentals: What To Know At The End Of The Semester

By Kaitlin H.

With another school term coming to an end, there’s the opportunity to decide what to do with the term’s textbooks. Depending on whether or not you decided to buy or rent your textbooks at the beginning of the term, you will have a range of options on what to do with your textbooks: keeping them for future reference, reselling them to get some money back, or returning them to the company you rented them from. If you rented your books at the beginning of the term, there are a few things you will have to do before returning them in order to comply with the company you are renting from’s guidelines. When it comes time for the end of the semester, here is what you should know about your textbook rentals:

You most likely will have the option to keep them or extended your rental period, if needed

This is entirely up to the policy of the company you rented your textbooks from, but many textbook sellers will allow customers to keep the textbook they had rented for another fee. Depending on the value of the textbook (how new it is, any damages, edition), this fee can vary. Often, the fee will be the difference in price between the sale value of the book and the amount of money you originally paid when you rented the book. Another option you have outside of returning your rental book, is the possibility to extend the rental period originally assigned to you.

Again, this is up to the seller you rented from, but either for free or a small fee, you can extend your rental if you find the period ends before your semester does or that you would like to keep the book longer for personal use or if you do not have time to return the book by the original due date.

Clean” the textbook rental as much as possible

Hopefully, your textbook rental is in good shape - there aren’t any torn pages, water damage, or excessive notes or highlighting on the book’s pages. If you’ve taken good care of the rental textbook, there won’t be much to “clean.” Flip through your book to see if you wrote any notes down in pencil and erase them prior to returning your rental textbooks. If you are one to put sticky notes to flag important pages, or sticky notes on the pages themselves to write notes on instead of writing directly on the pages, make sure to remove all of them.

Spend a few minutes flipping through your rental textbooks to check for any notes lingering from the term to avoid any possible “damage” charges upon returning your textbooks. If you did manage to write or highlight directly on your textbook pages, look up the seller’s guidelines for use of their rental textbooks. Some allow gentle signs of notes or highlighting, while others will have a stricter policy of customer’s marking up rental textbooks. Be prepared to pay a damage fee if their policy is stricter.

Return the textbooks as soon as you can

When you rent textbooks, there is a set date where you will need to return the textbooks by. Although you may be prone to pushing off your school assignments to the last possible minute of their deadline, it is not the best idea to do the same thing with your textbook rentals. If you fail to return the textbook rentals by the time you have deadline rolls around, you will be charged a late fee by the seller/company you rented from.

If you rented the textbooks from an online seller/company try to mail back your textbooks at the soonest date that you can. If it’s for your fall semester books, you will most likely be shipping them back in the middle of a holiday season - post offices and similar shipping stores will be packed with many others trying to mail out gifts or package returns. Avoid the long lines and possible headaches of your textbook rentals getting lost in the mail when you return them by beating the holiday rush and sending back your textbook rentals as soon as you can.

On a similar note, if you rented your textbooks from your college bookstore, it is also a good idea to return your college textbooks as soon as you can. Everyone that rented books for the semester is going to have the same due date as you, meaning, everyone is also going to have to return their books around the same time as you. Avoid long lines at the campus bookstore near the textbook rental deadline by returning your textbooks as soon as you are done using them.

Rental textbooks are a great alternative to purchasing textbooks. Rental textbooks often come with a lower price tag, and eliminate the trouble that comes with storing old textbooks or finding someone to purchase your old textbooks. If managed right, rental textbooks will help alleviate stress that may come with acquiring and getting rid of college textbooks.